Burma Army setting up more barriers against Wa

Burma Army checkpoint near Tachilek

Burma’ ruling military junta has reportedly been erecting barriers more densely than ever against ethnic ceasefire groups, especially in the United Wa State Army (UWSA) as the latest deadline 22 April draws near, according to local sources from the Thai-Burma border.

The activities reportedly started on 27 March, Armed Forces Day. Between Tachilek and Monghsat, a distance of 63 miles, there are no less than 20 Burma Army checkpoints, a local source in Monghsat said. “It is to monitor Wa’s movements.”At the same time, Tachilek authorities are also vigorously conducting inspection of the people in the town for a week. They have been checking from house to house including hotels and apartments from 22:00 until dawn, said a Tachilek resident.

“They asked many questions. They checked our ID cards and questioned whether our cards are real or not. Some people staying in apartments got thorough inspection including their bedrooms.” she said. “We don’t’ know why they are so serious.”

In addition, rumor is around that Naypyitaw is deploying three more Light Infantry Divisions (LIDs): Kalaw based LID #55, Pegu based LID #77 and Pa-an based LID#22 to the areas very soon. Tachilek area commander Colonel Khin Maung Soe himself was reported to have left the town to oversee the preparations.

The situation seems if the Wa is still standing defiant to the Naypyitaw’s Border Guard Force program, a breakout of hostilities after 28 April is possible, a border watcher said.

The UWSA and other ceasefire groups have been given a 22 April deadline to accept the Burma Army’s demand, and to face the consequences of their continued defiance by 28 April, when they would be declared as illegal organizations.

According to a source close to the UWSA southern military region, the ruling military junta should accept the Wa’s latest counter proposal submitted on 1 April.

“In the past, we said there should be no junta officers at the battalion level,” he said. “But now we are allowing it to have one officer to serve either as a commander or deputy commander at the battalion level.”

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